SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Out with the old, and in with the new. Chatham Area Transit (CAT) will receive a portion of a $1.6 billion grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) — funds that will contribute to the low or no emission vehicle program.
“Little did we know this would turn around so fast,” says Chester Ellis, Chatham County Commission Chairman. “All right it was just this past May that we applied. And it’s going to help us to improve our carbon footprint. It’s going to help us with our fight against climate change.”
CAT is getting over $5 million from the FTA, with those funds being allocated to increase the number of electric-powered buses in Chatham County.
“Four 35-foot battery electric buses, four of them,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson. “Which will replace four diesel buses that have reached their useful life. So again, we’re sustainability. We’re taking things that were and putting things in that we want them to be.”
Of the total grant, $1.5 million will be used for high-speed bus charging stations. This announcement came on the same day CAT held a public meeting to discuss route changes and additions.
“There’s a whole hour and a half where they have to wait for a bus,” one upset citizen said. “So that’s the bigger issue.”
Some riders applaud the environmental upgrades to come in the future, but many are more concerned about fixing the present problems with operations.
“But we do need more bus drivers because people got to be at places at a certain time,” another upset resident said. “It’s wrong what you are doing. We need some more bus drivers.”
CAT is still looking for drivers as services totals continue to rise, making more than 2 million passenger trips annually.